Incredible India

It’s sometimes difficult to describe how different things are in India and what we get used to on a daily basis. I’ve selected some photos to demonstrate this. India in an incredible country with helpful people and fabulous architecture but the infrastructure struggles to keep up with development (and the litter and filth is really something else). It’s the quirks that are interesting and here are some of them.

   
Read the sign. This is the official Botanicla Gardens in Bangalore and they are advising the population that the Christmas tree is sacred and we worship it. 


The monkeys in our complex enjoying their recent theft from the local onsite store, just after the owner chased them off.

    
We asked for the bill in a restaurant and received it in this tin. It amused us.

 
The monkeys trying to invade a neighbours house. The balcony doors had been left open. Rooky error from a local. They got something and scarpered quick.

   
Not a great picture from a moving car but you get the idea. Cows everywhere on the road, in the middle reservation, at the side of the road, wandering down the road. They are holy and nobody moves them along – everyone goes around them.

 
Early morning and monkeys scavenge at the sugar cane stall. Indians drink sugar cane juice as a roadside snack.

   
An elephant made out of flowers complete with chains. (All elephants are chained here – it is quite sad and distressing.) This display was outside an art gallery which was holding a painting exhibition.

 
Auto rickshaws (called “autos” here) are used for everything here. As well as squeezing as many people into one as possible, drivers are also used to deliver goods. They are usually crammed full. This one is transporting tyres.

   
A sign in a local cafe. The missing ‘s’ changes the whole meaning on the second sign.

 
This ambulance was at the Botanical Gardens and it’s a mobile dental service. There are lots of services offered at the roadside or in shack style shops here – bone setting, dental work, false teeth – none of which look hygienic. This one however did look at least medical and clean. 

The NHS in the UK is something to be grateful for. Our recent visit to the hospital (for Rez’s cracked rib) was an eye opener – nothing moves until you get your credit card out and you pay for each service as you proceed – charges for the consultant’s time, X Ray’s, medicine you name it they charged it.

   
Roadside fires are common here. Gardeners pile up the dead leaves daily and light them and the acrid smoke pollution ensues. Clean, fresh air is something I really miss, but we’re grateful it’s not as bad as other countries.

 
This lovely lady delivers eggs on a weekly basis around the complex. She literally does have all of her eggs in one basket. It is a huge skill to take them down and back up again without breaking any.

   
The cupboard under the stairs flower shop. I’ve not seen a western style flower shop yet. This one is the nearest I have seen and it is in our local village. Flowers here are usually sold as bags of flower heads or are threaded into necklaces – it is quite rare to find flowers with stems and even more rare to have them with long stems. Flowers are incredibly cheap here but of course the price doubles (but usually quadruples) if you’re a westerner!

 
Packs of stray dogs are everywhere here, everywhere. They usually lie around in the middle of the road having a nap in the sun and occasionally follow you for a snack. This little family was in the Botanical Gardens and was unusual as there were no other dogs with them (at the time).

   
Traffic jams are part of daily life here and going from one place to another is measured in time rather than kms. This was the traffic on MG Road in the centre of Bangalore at 7pm on a Friday evening. It’s at a standstill and horns were honking loudly- also a common thing here.

 
Crossing the road is a challenge and you really do take your life in your own hands. It’s like playing real life Frogger (or Crossy Road for the younger generation). Stopping once you have started is not an option. Weaving in and out of cars, 2 wheelers and people is a skill that develops as you judge the speed of each approaching vehicle and dodging those undertaking, overtaking and turning. In this one way street you can see most of the traffic going in the same direction but close to us are the two 2 wheelers both going across the traffic in different directions. It’s a small example of the challenge – bigger roads are frankly suicidal to cross but you still see people running in and out of traffic – if they trip they’re dead.

  

 The blue tarpaulin shack villages pop up around building sites. Larger construction sites have lots of these shacks and smaller builds will either have these in smaller numbers or the builders squat on the floors under construction. Some of them have satellite dishes but few, if any, have access to toilet or washing facilities or running water. Draw your own conclusions about health and hygiene.

  
Recycling is huge here. Cardboard here is particularly sought after. As a consequence delivery drivers don’t remove cardboard after delivering something (as is usual in the UK) but leave it behind. However you make yourself really popular with the gardeners in the complex if you leave it on the front drive for them. I left the cardboard out after our move and it was gone within 10 minutes. In this picture we can see some construction workers carrying cardboard thrown out by the businesses in Manyatta Tech Park. I believe the going rate is ₹10 (10p) a kilo.

  
Traffic is bad here but so are the roads. Some are Tarmac and others mud, rubble or hardcore. A two lane road (in the traditional UK sense of the word) will suddenly run out of Tarmac and transfer to rubble without reason. This means all the vehicles suddenly diverge in to a previously single lane. It causes chaos and more traffic jams. Drivers claim corruption is the issue.

  
India has the second largest population in the world after China. As a consequence the labour force is huge and cheap. This is an example of a job creation scheme at its best. This lady’s job is to push the button on the ticket machine and hand you the car park ticket.

  
 

This picture shows two things- the pillion passenger without a helmet and the roadside traders on their way to work with the sweet corn.

Hardly anyone wears a helmet riding a two wheeler here and it is only a legal requirement for the driver to do so. As a consequence there will be whole families (children, mothers holding babies) on a two wheeler without helmets. 

Sweet corn is a common raid side snack here. Corn is cooked over coals on the trolley and sold hot. Smells delicious but never risked it.

  

A final picture of a ‘taxi’ auto rank outside a shopping mall.
We’ve got used to so many different things here already but this gives a flavour of some of them.  The rubbish at the roadside here is phenomenal. Men urinating at the side of the road is also common – but I thought I’d spare you that (and who wants to take a picture of that anyway!).  I’ll have to do a whole separate blog on toilets – my gosh they really are incredible!

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